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Women and the post-crisis labour market

  • Date(s)
    17 March 2015
  • Time
  • Location
    Comittee Room G, House of Lords, Palace of Westminster
Women and the post-crisis labour market

The disconnect between Britain’s strong economic recovery and its sluggish wage growth will be one of the key issues at May’s general election.

It is, in part, explained by a phenomenon familiar to many western economies, and one that predates the economic crisis: the hollowing-out of the labour market and the decline of semi-skilled manual and clerical jobs. This has served to further strengthen the labour market inequalities between men and women. Post-crisis women have been faced with increasing levels of low-paying, temporary or insecure work. Boosting economic growth and economic competitiveness depends on a growing female workforce, not an insecure, low paid one. Ignoring the obstacles to female employment holds enormous economic costs.

Childcare is often presented as a panacea capable of reducing inequalities, increasing women’s participation in the labour market, and boosting economic growth. Over the past 25 years, Britain has invested heavily in pre-school education, and all parties are committed to increasing investment further. However, recent research has shown that the focus on childcare may be misplaced by the mainstream parties and alternatives are needed to narrow the inequality gap.

Some questions we hope to explore at the event include:

  • What are the progressive (pre-distributive) policy alternatives to formal childcare?
  • What is the role of employers to ensure a more family friendly work environment?
  • How can women’s relationship with the labour market be strengthened?

Confirmed and invited speakers include:

Moira Nelson, senior lecturer, Lund University, Sweden

Jill Rutter, head of policy and research, Family and Childcare Trust

Vicky Pryce, senior economic adviser, Centre for Economics and Business Research

David Nash, senior policy adviser, labour market and family friendly policies, Federation of Small Businesses

Yvonne Roberts, chief leader writer, The Observer (chair)

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